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Adapting to shifting consumer needs

Written by Miguel Van Damme

By now we’re all aware of the significant changes in today’s business environment caused by COVID-19. Supply chains are disrupted, operations are halted, and demand patterns are disordered. Dealing with these changes represents an enormous challenge for almost every company, but could also create opportunities for companies who manage to adapt quickly.

What trends are we seeing today?

The crisis is impacting consumer habits in many ways, such as extreme growth or decline of specific product categories. For example, online sales of bread machines and vegetables more than tripled, whilst those of luggage and cameras declined by more than half. Some habits will most likely fade away after recovering from this crisis, but others are likely to stay in the new normal state of the economy. Some of these new habits that are most likely to stay are:

  • A boost in e-commerce with more people favoring online shopping

  • A shift from global to local consumption and suppliers

  • A higher adoption rate of digital services

What type of opportunities will come out of this crisis?

On the one hand, companies reacting quickly to these shifts could seize new opportunities, resulting in sizable benefits. On the other hand, failing to adapt could result in potential threats with unfavorable consequences. Some specific opportunities could include:

In the boost of E-commerce:

  • Create new revenue streams by developing/increasing online offering and presence in selected categories,

  • Increase customer engagement by implementing an omni-channel sales and marketing approach.

In the shift from global to local suppliers:

  • Adapt offering and range to more local products and suppliers,

  • Increase customer satisfaction by improving delivery times and after-sales support.

In the increased adoption rate of digital services:

  • Attract new customers by offering bundles including both physical products and digital services,

  • Create additional revenue streams via subscription-based digital services.

How can you seize these opportunities?

Companies with the correct mindset and attitude will be able to seize these opportunities. As BrightWolves, we recommend the following three-step approach:

  1. Assess shifts in demand and identify opportunities and threats

  2. Define how to react and decide where to play and how to win

  3. Implement and execute with plan of attack and dedicated resources

Interested to know more? Don’t hesitate to contact Jean-David Thiebaut at

Difficulties to navigate during the crisis? Access our BrightWolves COVID-19 Business Survival Kit


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